2014-01-07

Giant Sunspot group AR1944

It is a rarity in times of weak solar activity: A huge sunspot group has appeared on the solar disk. The group, dubbed AR1944, is much bigger than Earth. While now directed towards our planet, any major eruptions in it's vicinity may increase chances of aurora at least in higher latitudes in the coming days.

2014-01-04

Call for observation: Jupiter's moons naked eye on January 5, 2014?

I just read this Call for Observation by distinguished planet observer Bernd Gährken: The opposition of Jupiter of January 5, 2014, is a rather unusual one, because seen from the distant planet, Earth will transit the sun's disk. Therefore, the phase angle will be extremely small and the opposition effect on it's moons will be unusually strong.

2014-01-02

Another (almost) announced asteroid impact

A (very) small asteroid was discovered yesterday at Mt. Lemmon observatory - and already seems to be history. According to a Minor Planet Electronic Circular issued today, the rock named 2014 AA has almost certainly crashed into Earth's atmosphere earlier today, Jan. 2. Unlike 2008 TC3, which is to date the only asteroid discovered before it's atmospheric entry, this time calculations were available only after impact, eliminating the chance for any planned observation.